How we test

These are our labs.

We know – you expected a table full of oscilloscopes, spectrometers and white labcoats. But your living room isn’t a sparkling research facility, and hard specs don’t determine which gadget is best for you any more than the Nutrition Facts label determines which breakfast cereal you pour in your bowl each morning.

We test electronics in the real world. Laptops and tablets get toted around in backpacks, used on tray tables at 30,000 feet in the air, and propped up to play Netflix in bed. TVs get set up in bright living rooms and in pitch-dark basements, have their remotes accidentally slathered in buffalo wing sauce on game day, and their menu systems critiqued by crying kids that can’t manage to pull up Dora the Explorer. Cell phones get put in pockets with keys, used to buy movie tickets in a pinch on a Friday night and, occasionally, dropped. Because that’s life.

Benchmarks? Yep, we do that too, testing devices wherever possible to make objective measurements between similar devices. We use colorimeters on televisions and monitors, battery life loops on phones and laptops, and synthetic benchmark software on a wide variety of devices.

However, we know these objective tests don’t tell the whole story. Tech often works differently when faced with real-world challenges day after day. That’s why Digital Trends editors put in the real-life testing to make sure that our reviews reflect the way you’ll use the latest tech.